The Contender
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The hard-ball gamesmanship and casual character assassination of American politics sets the stage for this thriller from writer and director Rod Lurie. When the Vice President of the United States unexpectedly dies, all eyes in Washington D.C. are on President Jackson Evans (Jeff Bridges) as he chooses a new VP. Sen. Jack Hathaway (William Petersen), a respected career politician enjoying a new swell of popularity after a well-publicized attempt to save a drowning woman, is expected to be Evans' choice, but instead he picks Sen. Laine Hanson (Joan Allen), a decision that raises eyebrows on… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Wonderfully cast and slickly directed, but so crudely written as to make its espousing of progressive principles seem crassly exploitative to the point of self-parody."
‑ Jay Carr, Boston Globe
"This is one of those rare movies where you leave the theater having been surprised and entertained, and then start arguing."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Sex, lies and politics--they all boil together beautifully in "The Contender," a strong political drama that understands Washington, knows its dirty secrets, and uses its excellent cast to fine effect."
‑ Christopher Smith, Bangor Daily News (Maine)
"Despite a few phony moments, the dialogue is sharp and the directing is immediate."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Leave ten minutes early and you'll see the best White House film in years, stick around and get the big screen version of The West Wing. No contest really."
‑ Harry Guerin, RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)
"Cheesy."
‑ J. Hoberman, Village Voice
"An intelligent and informed look at the preposterous ways our leaders are often picked and sabotaged."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"Pretty much shameless leftist propaganda being sold as conventional Hollywood entertainment, but it manages to satisfy on the traditional genre terms."
‑ Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com
"When Republicans speak, it's a bitter voice we hear; when Democrats speak, the music swells proudly. There's not must to think about here. It's a personality contest."
‑ Jeffrey Overstreet, Looking Closer
"About fairness,privacy,shrewdness in politics,witch hunts,dignity,pride, and service to one's country and sticking to your guns."
‑ Karina Montgomery, Cinerina
"A vivid, juicy, thoroughly entertaining movie."
‑ Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Thoughtful, enjoyable film for older teens."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"The Contender thumps its Democratic Bible hard enough to put Jonathan Edwards to shame."
‑ Rob Gonsalves, eFilmCritic.com
"Um drama político inteligente e ambicioso cuja única (e quase perdoável) falha é ceder a dois ou três clichês em seus minutos finais."
‑ Pablo Villaca, Cinema em Cena
"The Contender has renewed my faith that good movies can indeed be produced if enough care is given to the production. It's too bad so many of 2000's films have failed to do that."
‑ John R. McEwen, Film Quips Online
More reviews for The Contender on Rotten Tomatoes